How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The band with a name that seems to be a culmination of random selection is scaled down to a trio now. Recorded live at the Knitting Factory, this album provides a glimpse of pianist Brian Haas’ firebrand approach and the rhythm section’s stinging, jazz-funk and rock beats. Especially when they infuse ravenous improvisational forays with swiftly executed shifts in strategy. Haas also provides a rough-hewn edge when utilizing his treated Fender Rhodes. The core trio garners enthusiastic support from percussionists, Chris Lovejoy (“Charlie Hunter Band”) and Chris Theberge (“Groove Merchant”) for a series of high-octane performances.
The band opens with a peppery opus, somewhat amusingly titled “Thelonious Monk Is My Grandmother.” Whereas Hass, Reed Mathis (bass) and Jason Smart (drums) set upon a whirlwind sojourn that might hearken memories of early to mid 70’s jazz-rock, such as England’s fabled “Soft Machine” outfit. The ensemble is nimble, cunning and infinitely more imaginative than what was presented on its 1999 horns-based live release, Welcome Home. You may find it difficult to sit still, as the musicians’ snugly coordinated forays, coupled with a loose and cheery vibe provides the bulk of the excitement. Hence, Brian Haas simply terrorizes his keyboards, with ominous intentions we might add! Recommended.